Mental retirement 

Wouldn’t it be great to retire by thirty or forty years old? What sounds good in theory though has negative consequences for the brain. 

Indeed, a lot of work is repetitive and unnecessarily political, as we jump through hoops to make it up the ladder. And while our work may not be the most stimulating thing to do, it keeps our brain active. 

Studies show a correlation between retirement and memory loss.

The researchers find a straight-line relationship between the percentage of people in a country who are working at age 60 to 64 and their performance on memory tests. The longer people in a country keep working, the better, as a group, they do on the tests when they are in their early 60s.

We need challenges. We need some type of mind games to keep our brains fresh as we age. If we can’t recall how to act like inquisitive children who willfully fail, we need something more than physical exercise to hold up neurological plasticity. 

While work can be depressing, it’s keeps the brain cells running. Excess relaxation is what dulls the mind. Use it or lose it. 

Playing Past Perfection

The fear of never being as good again is supposed to be obtrusive. The resistance is telling you to keep your lasting image as one of the greatest so you can retire on top.

But the itch to play again is usually stronger than the public’s perception of your invincibility. Most athletes who return to sports or keep playing late into their careers still have the confidence but lose their innate ability. There are ways to circumvent this natural attrition. Michael Jordan improved his shooting game with the fadeaway. He also became a better team leader as he got older.

Wearing down is also true of artists. At some point, artists lose their creative energy and their work output suffers, as does their ability to think outside the box. All good work come to an end. It’s up to you to decide how perfectly indelible you want your lasting image to be.

You may lose your ability as time goes on but the sheer joy and appreciation of playing the game and making art persists.